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Sports Then and Now

Preparing For The World Cup: As One Problem is Solved, Another Develops

Posted on February 15, 2010 by Thomas Rooney
Wayne Rooney and England is getting ready for the World Cup.

Wayne Rooney and England is getting ready for the World Cup.

The scramble for World Cup places is well underway. All potential England squad members know they need to prove to Fabio Capello that they are fit and in form, with little managerial instinct or sentimentality coming into play. There will be no bizarre call-ups this time around, no repeats of the Theo Walcott controversy in 2006.

Despite this, there are several ‘untouchables’, notably Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Rio Ferdinand, Gareth Barry, Ashley Cole and, still on the list, John Terry. Football World Cup Betting experts know that these players are guaranteed a place on the place to South Africa, dependant on fitness.

This means there are as many as 15 places still up for grabs and it is ironic that the Three Lions are suddenly stronger in attack than in defence. Finding in-form strikers has been a problem that has plagued England recently, with the centre of defence looking after itself.

Not anymore. Wayne Rooney is in the best form of his life and seemingly ready to take the finals by storm. Jermain Defoe is enjoying his most productive season, whilst Darren Bent is back in the goals after finding regular football at Sunderland.

Emile Heskey and Carlton Cole’s seasons have been disrupted by injury, but so good has Peter Crouch’s form been at Tottenham, they have not been missed. Gabriel Agbonlahor is ready to make the step up to international level.

In contrast, the defence is unsettled, shown by the fact England kept only four clean sheets in their qualifying group. New skipper Ferdinand is plagued by injury problems and there are real concerns that Terry might arrive in South Africa unfocused and out-of-form.

Ashley Cole and England will look to glide to victory in the World Cup.

Ashley Cole and England will look to glide to victory in the World Cup.

The strength in depth is no longer present. Gary Cahill is all but ruled out of the finals due to injury, Joleon Lescott has missed a large part of the season, Phil Jagielka has not played in eight months and Jonathan Woodgate is unlikely to be ready for the summer. Matthew Upson has lost form and confidence at struggling West Ham.

Sol Campbell and Ledley King are touted as experienced standbys for the finals, but as dependable as they might be, their respective recent histories shows how stretched the centre of defence is becoming. The Football World Cup betting odds are likely to reflect this, so England must improve in this area over the coming months.

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